Sunday, 29 November 2009

New map expose Pakistani designs on Kashmir

New map expose Pakistani designs on Kashmir
Dr Shabir Choudhry 29 November 2009

While talking to some Kashmiris in London, Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri told us a story that on the day of Hashim Qureshi’s wedding in Rawalpindi a famous writer and leader Dada Amir Haider was also present (he was the first Asian who had honour of meeting Lenin and was close associate of Nehru, Gandhi and Ghafar Khan). During discussion on politics of Pakistan and Kashmir Dada Amir Haider said:

If Pakistan remains of only one province and even if that is on fire there will be still some ‘idiot Kashmiris’ who will say we want to be part of this land which is on fire. 1

His message was that nationalist Kashmiris should ignore these ‘idiots’ who do not care for welfare of their own people and unity of their country; and are more concerned about welfare and future of Pakistan. This policy is illogical and illustrates flattering nature of the people concerned. Who would in his right mind appreciate actions of this man who ignores responsibilities to his own parents, and expresses love and care for his neighbour?

That is not because they love Pakistan but because they cannot think for themselves and they are infatuated with love of Islam. They think we (Kashmiris) must express love for Pakistan because Pakistan was set up in name of Islam, no matter what is happening in that Pakistan and what is geography of that land of pure. Furthermore this flattering but illogical attitude makes them darling of Islamabad which showers them with rewards.

It is these sentiments which Pakistan has successfully exploited since 1947. On Jammu and Kashmir both India and Pakistan had same policy and that was to make the State part of their country. Both countries had different reasons for doing this; and both adopted different strategies.

Jammu and Kashmir had a Muslim majority and India claimed that inclusion of the State with India would strengthen their secular ideals; Pakistan on the other hand claimed that inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan would strengthen Islamic ideals. Furthermore they wrongly thought that the State should have been ‘awarded’ to Pakistan even though the Two Nations Theory – a formula devised to divide the British India did not apply to Jammu and Kashmir and other Princely States.

Pakistani officials relied on their use of arms and exploitation of Islamic sentiments; and despite the Standstill Agreement they managed a tribal invasion and stabbed the Maharaja government in the back and inadvertently paved way for accession to India, which was accepted provisionally. This naked aggression resulted in killing and suffering of innocent Kashmiri people and subsequently led to the division of the State.

Tragedy is that even that aggression was presented to us Kashmiris as a Jihad which was carried out to help the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunately many Kashmiris still regard that as true; and Pakistani officials have still not abandoned their policy of ‘liberating’ Jammu and Kashmir through jihad. What happened in Jammu and Kashmir in name of ‘Jihad’ is a tragic story. Once again Pakistani policy makers relied on use of arms and used a ‘proxy war’ and ‘terrorism’ to advance their interests in the region.

It is, however, true that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism; but is it not also true that all these groups who are out of control and fighting Pakistan were created, trained and funded by Pakistani agencies? Should we feel pity that Frankenstein’s monster disobeyed his creator? There is an ideological conflict between Pakistani agencies and these jihadi groups.

Whereas terrorist groups do not understand complexities of diplomacy and are groomed from childhood with one agenda – to wage jihad; Pakistani state apparatus are accountable for their actions to those who fund them. They have to demonstrate that they have changed their policy of training and funding of terrorists.

This is partially true. Those who are challenging the writ of government and are not prepared to understand compulsions of the government of Pakistan will face wrath of Pakistan, but ‘good boys’ who are still prepared to continue jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan are still adored and supported. What is happening in Pakistan is a direct result of policies of Pakistani agencies. Their wrong policies of the past are here to haunt them and make them appear victims.

Despite all these problems, their obsession to get Kashmir or at least make it unstable is not affected by internal problems. They have come out with true colours with their policy on Gilgit Baltistan. They have annexed this territory in name of new package and ‘empowering people’.

But despite this illegal occupation, their puppets are trying to defend this colonialism disguised in new package. Some area of the State was occupied by Pakistan in disguise of Jihad in 1947; now it is annexed in disguise of ‘empowering people’ to pave division of the State. Yet some puppets are still saying we want to become part of Pakistan, even though some areas which are constituent part of Pakistan no longer want to be part of that country.

Wasn’t Dada Amir Haider right when he said: If Pakistan remains of only one province and even if that is on fire there will be still some ‘idiot Kashmiris’ who would say we want to be part of this land which is on fire?

I have no doubt that there will always be some who will support State of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan; others will support accession to India and some will even prefer the status quo. Majority, however, wish to see their State united and independent, whether it is possible or not under the prevailing situation.

Those people, who still think that the government of Pakistan is sincere with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and that their sole aim is to help people to get independence, need to view a map produced by Foreign Office of Pakistan. Just click the link for this map provided below, and please tell me where is the territory known as Azad Kashmir.

A similar map was produced about three years ago and after our (we were part of one group of JKLF at that time) strong protest it was removed by saying that it was a mistake. One can make the following observations from this map:

1. POK or AJK, as it is known, does not show up as a separate territory but part of Jammu Kashmir (disputed territory);

2. Does that mean Pakistani Foreign Office regard Azad Jammu Kashmir as disputed?

3. Gilgit is shown part of Pakistan and not Jammu and Kashmir;

4. Baltistan is shown part of Jammu and Kashmir (disputed territory);

5. Does that mean Pakistani Foreign Office regard Baltistan as disputed?

6. Akasi chin is not shown at all;

7. Does that mean Pakistan considers Aksai chin is occupied by China, but the territory belongs to Jammu and Kashmir?

I am sure people will be able to pick out more points from this map, but important thing is that we people of Jammu and Kashmir need to protest now and not when the final hammer falls down.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:

To view other articles see my blog:
1. This was revealed to me by a Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri Chairman UKPNP, who heard this from Dada Amir Haider, a prominent leader of the Left.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Cutting out a role for China

Cutting out a role for China
Dr Shabir Choudhry 21 November 2009

Statement of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq regarding a role of China in Kashmir dispute has surprised many. We people of Jammu and Kashmir are in limbo mainly because we are occupied by three countries, although it was only two who were considered party to the Kashmir dispute.

With exception of Palestine those countries which were colonised by one country, after some struggle gained independence; but those countries which were occupied by more than one country are still occupied, divided and struggling, as is the case with Kurdistan and Jammu and Kashmir.

Many experts believe had Jammu and Kashmir been occupied by one country then dispute of Jammu and Kashmir would have been resolved by now. People of Jammu and Kashmir are divided, as some want to join India, others want to join Pakistan or become independent from both of them. Some are even happy with the status quo. So the struggle has more than one dimension and people are not sure whether their struggle is for accession or independence.

This matter is made more complicated by making it a religious struggle, struggle of Muslims, rather than a political struggle of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Of course this religious dimension suits Pakistan and religious elements as it strengthens their position; and they deliberately promote religious confrontation to create more divisions in the ranks of those who are involved in the struggle or have suffered because of it.

Even though we, people of Jammu and Kashmir, are the main party to the dispute, we were never made part of any negotiations by the two occupying and recognised parties to the dispute, namely India and Pakistan. It was they who have dialogue with each other to settle the Kashmir dispute on our behalf; and there is a lot of resentment among the people of Jammu and Kashmir because of this.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is known to have made many controversial statements in the past and making mess of the Kashmir dispute. He is also among those who opposed a dialogue with India without the inclusion of Pakistan. At that time India was desperate to talk; and was openly saying to the Kashmiris that ‘sky was the limit’. India wanted a dialogue with Kashmiris, people who mattered and people who were suffering; and not with Pakistan because of issues related to infiltration and supporting terrorism. Talks at time could have prolonged the cease fire and helped to save many innocent lives.

When, at last, India offered a dialogue with Pakistan, government of Pakistan did not hesitate for a second and accepted the offer of talks. They did not even for formality sake asked for the inclusion of the Kashmiris. Even that did not open eyes of the Kashmiri leadership.

India is a party to the Kashmir dispute because of the ‘provisional accession’. Pakistan is a party because of the de facto control of Jammu and Kashmiri territory; and their position was recognised as a party. China also has Kashmiri territory under its control. China occupied Aksi Chin in 1962 war with India; but they also received a gift of about 5000 square kilometres territory from Pakistan in 1963.

China received this gift from Pakistan for the services which China was to provide to Pakistan in future. However both countries singed a Sino Pakistan Border Agreement in 1963 and Article 6 of the agreement says:

‘The two parties have agreed that after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the boundary as described in Article. Two of the present agreement, so as to sign a formal boundary treaty to replace the present agreement, provided that in the event of the sovereign authority being Pakistan, the provisions of the present agreement and of the aforesaid protocol shall be maintained in the formal boundary treaty to be signed between the People’s Republic of China and Pakistan.’

One can see it is clear that China has no role in resolving the Kashmir dispute. Its role only comes once the solution of the Kashmir is found. It looks that government of Pakistan wants China to have a role in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute; after all they are also de facto occupier, and if one de facto controller of a territory could have a role than why not the other.

Perhaps it is because of this Pakistan pulled a string, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed his intention to visit China. Furthermore he said: “China definitely has a role in the Kashmir dispute. It is a great global and regional power and has a direct link to the dispute. It is definitely a stakeholder.” In this regard Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s meeting with the Pakistani High Commissioner in Delhi last week should also be kept in mind.

Many wonder why Mirwaiz Umar Farooq wants to cut out some role for the third occupier – China. Doesn’t he realise that matters are already too complex, and by having another big player in this, it will only aggravate the matters. Does he want a solution or throw a spanner to prevent any possibility of finding a solution.

What if in future a part of the State territory is occupied by Afghanistan – our fourth neighbour, then are we going to chalk out a role for them as well?

Why all of sudden he has decided to go to China. Something is being cooked up. We have to view this in light of recent Pakistani manoeuvres in Gilgit Baltistan, and a joint statement of USA and China which has crucial sentence about South Asia, it says:
‘The two sides welcomed all efforts conducive to peace, stability and development in South Asia. They support the efforts of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight terrorism, maintain domestic stability and achieve sustainable economic and social development, and support the improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan. The two sides are ready to strengthen communication, dialogue and cooperation on issues related to South Asia and work together to promote peace, stability and development in that region.’
Kashmir dispute was not a bilateral matter, as it concerned with our inherent right of self determination and independence, but both India and Pakistan worked hard to make it a bilateral dispute in which the UN Resolutions have no role. It also looks that in this ‘bilateral dispute’ people of Jammu and Kashmir do not matter much either.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Sahib what are we likely to achieve by dragging China in to this dispute? China is a powerful neighbour of Jammu and Kashmir. We want to have a friendly and cordial relationship with them; but we cannot have that when China is also in possession of our territory.

We anticipate no role of China in resolving the Kashmir dispute; and if China wants to have peace and stability in South Asia, which suits Chinese future aspiration as well, then best thing is to declare that China will vacate all areas of the State under their control once the Kashmir dispute is resolved to the satisfaction of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:

To view other articles see my blog:

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Introduction by Professor Rafiq Bhattti to new book:

Introduction by Professor Rafiq Bhattti to new book:

The new dimensions of Kashmiri struggle

A prominent politician and author of European Parliament Kashmir Report – Present situation and future prospects, Baroness Emma Nicholson wrote an introduction to Dr Shabir Choudhry’s last book titled: ‘Struggle for independence, Proxy war or Jihad’. The book was very well received in various circles, and after great demand its translation in Urdu was published in July this year.

It was an honour for me to translate that book from English to Urdu, which has been appreciated by many quarters. I was further honoured when Dr Shabir Choudhry asked me to write an introduction to his new book: ‘The new dimensions of Kashmiri struggle’.

The new book is a collection of new articles written by Dr. Shabir Choudhry, a prominent Kashmiri scholar and political analyst. These articles are not slogans are emotional reflections but ground realities and facts which were willfully ignored to distort the legal and constitutional status of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir. The legal and constitutional distortions were intentionally and maliciously made by both Indian and Pakistani governments to suite their national interests.

Not only Indian and Pakistani governments played malicious role to exploit the resources of the State, but they promoted and supported such parties and politicians in the State who pleaded the cause of Indian and Pakistani agencies and establishments for their petty personal gains at the cost of national freedom and fundamental human rights assigned to the people of Jammu and Kashmir by the UN Charter, and our inherent right of self determination.

Dr. Shabir Choudhry whom I pronounce as the “Antina” and “Mobile Cell” of Kashmiri nation is a prolific and regular writer particularly on Kashmir dispute since many years. His writings are scientific and systematic. He is pro-people, pro peace and pro-Kashmir writer. His writings are based on reasons, prudence and rationality. He is a staunch believer in democracy, rule of law and social justice.

Although Dr. Shabir Choudhry is a political thinker, yet all his pen work is based on dignity of mankind, fundamental rights, social equality, economic justice and democratic ideals. He supports the cause of Kashmiri nation not because he himself is a Kashmiri, but because he believes in fundamental rights of people and democratic rights of all citizens. He strongly believes that forces which preach violence, terrorism, extremism and hatred must be opposed and defeated.

He is not an ‘armchair analyst’ or an ‘armchair scholar’. He has done extensive research on Jammu and Kashmir and India - Pakistan relations. He is considered as a leading authority on the subject and fully understands legal and constitutional position of the Kashmir dispute because of his study and in - depth knowledge of the legal documents which include the following important documents:

1. Transfer of power, 3 June 1947.
2. Cabinet Mission Memorandum.
3. Indian Independence Act 1947.

To re-enforce his arguments, Dr. Shabir Choudhry quotes many statements of the stake holders of the division of India i.e. British Government, Indian Congress leader and Muslim League Leaders, particularly. Transfer of Power, 3 June 1947, Cabinet Mission Memorandum and Indian Independence Act 1947 along with the policy statements of Lord Mountbatten, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah are very crucial and relevant which Dr. Shabir Choudhry has mentioned with authenticity. These documents and statements give insight-into the legal and constitutional status of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir.

The book comprising of 45 articles is of great intellectual and practical significance for all those who believe in democracy, rule of law and social justice for the people of South Asia in particular and for the world in general. It will enlighten the astray young generation in Kashmir and will prick the bubble of “Ilhaq” and “Attot Ang”. Contents of the book, I believe, will also give food for thought to thinking people in India, Pakistan, Kashmir and overseas.

The facts about Kashmir dispute have been changed into fiction. This fiction is made part of curricula of schools, colleges and universities in both parts of the State controlled and occupied by India and Pakistan. The net-result is confusion and contradictions. It has damaged the genuine freedom struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir which was secular, democratic and pro-people. It has endangered the peace, prosperity and progress of this region.

In this book Dr. Shabir Choudhry has very eloquently and strongly condemned terrorism, extremism and sectarianism in all forms and manifestations. He is of firm belief that ultimate, safe and acceptable solution of Kashmir dispute is linked with free and fair will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are the principal party to this dispute. India and Pakistan must honour their national and international pledges made by their leaders. In one of his book, “Kashmir Needs a Change of Heart” Dr. Shabir Choudhry has very prudently explained as to what should be done for an honourable solution of this dispute.

Dr. Shabir Choudhry is an author of more than twenty five valuable books and booklets on Kashmir. He regularly writes very thought provoking articles about Kashmir to generate awareness among the new generation of Jammu and Kashmir. His articles are published, reproduced and referred in papers of international standing. He is neither against Pakistan nor India as interest oriented sections across LOC assume. As an acknowledged scholar of high caliber and integrity, he is often invited in different seminars and conferences at international level.

The literature produced by Dr. Shabir Choudhry has brought about a positive change. Those who have read him are better informed on various aspects of the Kashmir dispute. They appreciate his wisdom, analytical, rational and balanced approach on the topic. He has managed to present a Kashmiri view point and has successfully countered the propaganda of extremists and that of India and Pakistan.

Many ‘Kashmir watchers’ and students who want to know facts about the Kashmir dispute very often contact his publisher Muhammad Rafiq Khawaja, Chief Executive of Kashar Printers and request books of Dr Shabir Choudhry. He has persuaded many to abandon extremist ideas and support peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute through a process of dialogue.

This book, I hope, will help the readers to comprehend the contemporary requisites of Kashmir dispute; promote rights of people and strengthen those forces who believe in peace, tolerance and rule of law. I suggest all sections of Kashmiris to read it between lines and avail its rational.

Professor Muhammad Rafiq Bhatti
Principal Shah Hamdaan College, Mirpur
November 2009

New dimensions of the Kashmiri struggle.

New dimensions of the Kashmiri struggle.
Dr Shabir Choudhry 8 November 2009

Yes, it is time for a change. We have always opposed the status quo in hope that change will bring better results - it will bring freedom, peace and prosperity; and now that change is in the offing I am apprehensive as to what it might bring. I don’t know what this change will bring to us. Will we, as a nation forcibly divided be any better off or worse?

At one time it was only the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir that was viewed as disputed; and more or less everyone from the Pakistani side of the divide wanted to liberate that side which had better living standard, better infrastructure and more political, economic and social rights.

Although Pakistan, their agencies, political parties pro Pakistan Kashmiris on both sides of the divide and some ‘nationalist parties’ who are considered ‘B’ team of Pakistan wanted to ensure that attention is focussed only on the Indian side of the divide and only those areas should be seen as disputed; but hard work of true nationalists have paid off, and now areas of Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir are also deemed as disputed.

Those who were living on the Indian side also thought the grass was greener on the Pakistani side of the divide; and they might get better rights and better future once they join Pakistan. Now all that has changed, as people come to know that there is no grass on the other side at all; and whatever little grass is there is rotten.

Furthermore they think if Pakistan had any love for the people of Jammu and Kashmir then they could have given fundamental human rights to the people who were living in the areas under their control. Denial of basic human rights to these people shows what care the Pakistani officials have for the people of the State. With time people have come to know Pakistani designs on Kashmir – they are only interested in the territory and the resources the State can offer to them.

People had to pay big sacrifices and suffer for many decades in order to reach this stage. They are not happy with India, but they no longer wish to join Pakistan either. They no longer trust those leaders who led them on this path where they suffered while the leadership enjoyed their lives and built their economic empires.

A big change has taken place and people have realised that if violence is ‘haram’ (religiously not permitted) in Pakistan or inside Pakistani Administered Jammu and Kashmir then how could it be ‘halal’ (religiously permitted) on the Indian side of the divide.

Support for democratic process

Yes, more changes are taking place. People have greater awareness and they no longer wish to follow their leaders blindly. They want to hold their leaders accountable for what they do. Did anyone visualise that the people of Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir will defy repeated requests of APHC leaders to boycott the elections; and despite threats of militants, they refused to boycott the elections and voted for their candidates.

People of Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir voted with their feet; they came out in very large numbers to cast their votes and stunned everyone. Some Kashmiris voters said, we hate India, but our hate is stronger for those who tell us to boycott elections, as this helps them financially and politically, and we have decided to defy their call and come out to vote in large numbers.

At one time to support an election on the Indian side of the divide was a serious crime. People were beaten up and killed for supporting the elections or for expressing their desire to be part of the democratic process. When my colleagues and I supported the electoral process, anti elections or anti democratic forces fully supported by Pakistani agencies came for us. We were declared anti Kashmir, anti Movement, anti Islam and pro Indian.

Despite this nefarious campaign against us we continued with our jihad of speaking truth and educating people about their rights and obligations; and opposing terrorism, violence, extremism, communalism and hatred. Many thought we will not be able to withstand this onslaught and propaganda, and will perish under this tremendous pressure; but we stood our ground and, if anything, the forces that opposed us are on the run and are busy realigning themselves.

Changing attitude

Another big change has taken place on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir. According to a report of English daily Kashmir Observer of 18 February 2009, nearly 14,000 youths took part on the Indian army’s recruitment drive which began in the district of Baramulla.

This has made people think why such a large number of people have turned out to join the Indian Army, especially if they thought it was an army of occupation that committed serious crimes against innocent people of Kashmir. Some people say it is the poverty and unemployment which is forcing people to join the army; however others have different explanations for this.

People of Palestine dislike and hate the Israeli army; and there is more poverty and unemployment there than what there is in Jammu and Kashmir. Then why is that the struggling people of Palestine do not join that army which they regard as killer army and army of occupation?

Small people big roles

People of the Valley, by and large, have developed superiority complex that everything should revolve around them; and that people of the other regions of the State should follow them. They wrongly think that every one should speak about them and support them, and they don’t have to even mention about miseries of the people belonging to other regions of the State.

This complex or ego of the ‘Valley leaders’ is regularly massaged by both India and Pakistan by giving them more attention than they deserve. Both governments have worked hard to promote those people as leaders of the Kashmiri Movement who were uneducated, uncommitted and lacked vision and directions. Aim of both governments and their agencies was to promote those who did not know what requirements of a genuine independence movement were.

Plan was to keep genuine freedom fighters under shadow and away from the lime light. Small people were assigned big roles – roles which they did not deserve; and had no clue how to perform them. The result was chaos and destruction. Tens of thousands of people lost their lives, thousands were tortured, imprisoned and raped; and we still have not moved a step forward, if anything the independence struggle was associated with Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.

Despite all the above sacrifices our struggle is still not considered as an indigenous Kashmiri struggle, where people of the State could decide their future. Still it is Indian and Pakistani bureaucrats and politicians who will decide what is good for us. India and Pakistan were considered to be the main players in the Kashmir dispute, even though we are the principal party.

Emerging role of China

However the above scenario is changing now. Role of China in Kashmir dispute is becoming more visible and stronger; and this gives totally new dimension to the Kashmir dispute and how it might be resolved. China’s interest is not only confined to the territory of the State, but it goes well beyond the boundary of the State. In order to fulfil their future aspirations, China needs to ensure that they maintain what the State territory they already have, but also ensure that they have greater influence and hold in the territory of Gilgit Baltistan. For this they have chalked out a programme and they are increasing their influence and hold over the areas of Gilgit Baltistan.

It is believed that they have leased various areas of Gilgit Baltistan from government of Pakistan, who are willing to sell anything and everything as long as they get cash for that. More than ten thousand Chinese, majority of them army men, are actively working in the area under different pretexts or under different development and exploration projects.

In the past they used to come to Gilgit Baltistan, stay in temporary shelters and go back after completing the project. This time the Chinese have come to stay, as they have started building permanent residential houses and have started taking keen interest in local matters, including local politics.

Unlike leaders of Pakistan, Chinese leaders are patriotic people. To them national interest is more important than the personal interest and self aggrandisement. They are not sure if Pakistan will survive as a nation state or will be able to hold on to the territory they have currently under their control. If Pakistan fails to protect its own borders and areas of the State under their illegal control, then China will not remain spectator and let others take over these strategically important territories which are extremely important to the Chinese future plans.

In this scenario they will take over these areas and protect their investment and interests directly linked to Gawader sea port and beyond. One can see how new developments and new dimensions in the Kashmiri struggle are taking place; and what impact they can have on unification and independence of former State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Asserting youths and Safr e Azadi

It is pleasing to note that Kashmiri youths on both sides of the divide have decided to be more assertive. They have decided to play an active role, and advance the cause of Jammu and Kashmir. The emerging role of the Kashmiri youths has forced the leadership of various Parties to be more careful in what they do and what they say.

Another important change is that for the first time initiative led by youths of the Valley, have forced the leaders to follow the theme; and even speak for the rights of the people of Gilgit Baltistan. Although not too strongly but it is pleasing to note that for the first time some leaders of the Valley have criticised action of the government of Pakistan regarding their new package on Gilgit Baltistan. This means for the first time they have realised that vast areas of Gilgit Baltistan are part of the State.

Because of more awareness and realisation of their strength and role, people have started questioning role of their leaders. Many ask why leaders have remained tight lipped regarding the plight of people of Gilgit Baltistan for the past sixty two years. Were they afraid that by speaking for rights of these people the leaders (who claim to represent whole of Jammu and Kashmir but in reality represent themselves and few localities of the Valley) could have lost their perks and other rewards.

Kashmiri youths also ask what was the purpose of collecting signatures in so called Safr – e Azadi - meaning journey for independence, if they were to be handed over to Prime Minister of a country which occupies two areas of the State, namely Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan and deprive them of basic human rights.

How interesting Yasin Malik got a gun and training from Pakistan and made use of that in the Valley and later on surrendered the gun to Delhi. He got new training and a new weapon – peace offensive during detention in a farm house in New Delhi, used it in the Valley, collected signatures and surrendered them in Islamabad.

Was this campaign taken - on to help government of India to get this message across to the Western capitals that right of movement of people is not restricted provided they abandon violence and move around without a gun? Message was clear: look a former militant who has surrendered his gun is allowed to walk with his friends freely from village to village, from town to town, at day and night to spread his message to hundreds of people in public meetings.

Message was that restriction of movement was only for those who use violence to promote their politics and intimidate local people. This message was projected through appropriate channels and helped India to ease pressure of the Western countries. Indian planners of this strategy were pleased with the outcome. Apart from other rewards, they allowed Yasin Malik to go to Pakistan with all the signatures that he can present them to Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan.

But question is why Shaukat Aziz – he was a person on loan to Pakistan and his job was to ‘screw up’ economy and the country to the best of his ability and leave, which he did very effectively. Why Yasin Malik didn’t give these signatures to some international body like the UN, which now says the UN has no role in the Kashmir dispute. Wouldn’t this have helped to strengthen the Kashmiri cause that people are not happy with the status quo; and that something must be done to improve the conditions of Kashmiris.

Furthermore, wouldn’t it have been better to present these signatures to the European Parliament which has started taking more active role in the Kashmir dispute; and have passed a resolution on Kashmir, which is the first of its kind and which is the first international initiative on Kashmir after the UN resolutions?

The European Parliament Resolution on Kashmir has also brought new a dimension to the Kashmir dispute. EU parliament, in its Resolution authored by highly respected and talented Baroness Emma Nicholson, differentiated between a right of self determination and a right of accession. It was a right of accession which the people of Jammu and Kashmir were offered by the UN, and which Pakistan has been supporting, and not a right of self determination.

Furthermore the EU Parliament in its Resolution has rightly focussed attention on the neglected people of Gilgit Baltistan, and demanded that people of this region should get their political and democratic rights. May be it was this pressure that has resulted in Pakistan granting some rights to the people of Gilgit Baltistan

New Package on Gilgit Baltistan and border crossing

At last government of Pakistan has acknowledged that this territory has a name – Gilgit Baltistan; and that they are not Northern Areas. Furthermore, people of this area could not be neglected anymore. They deserve to have their political and democratic rights, just like people of any other nation.

What Pakistan has given in this new package is not enough; and it shows Pakistan’s real designs related to the territory of Jammu and Kashmir. This new package and Pakistan’s endeavour to change the status of Gilgit Baltistan has removed the thin veil which hid the real designs of Pakistan.

This was welcomed by collaborators and opposed by people of the area and Pakistani Administered Kashmir. Nearly all nationalist parties openly spoke out against the new package and held rallies and public meetings against it. Pakistani establishment was not expecting so strong response from the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Under pressure from the youths of his party even Amanullah Khan had to speak out against the new package. In the past, like Molana Fazal Rehman provided a friendly opposition to government of General Musharaf, Amanullah Khan successfully provided a ‘friendly opposition’ to policies of Pakistani governments. His real opposition was against India and not Pakistan; and many nationalist parties DONOT regard his group of JKLF as a nationalist party.

It was because of his friendly and very often ‘negotiated opposition’, as stated by Nawaz Malik, Senior Minister of Azad Kashmir in a public meeting in Luton, England, that people called him ‘B’ team of Pakistan. Of course ‘A’ team consist of those who openly speak of accession to Pakistan and say they are soldiers of Pakistan and fighting Pakistan’s war.

Amanullah Khan is a shrewd politician, he realised he could not satisfy his rebellious youths and other parties by cosmetic changes or activities. He normally feels comfortable in the company of pro Pakistan parties, but this time he had to woo some nationalist parties to reassert his claim to nationalism. He, therefore, desperately needed a face saving activity.

There was a lot of international pressure on Pakistan that Kashmiri militants were getting training and arms from Pakistan; and Pakistan was on a verge of being declared a terrorist state in 1992. Amanullah Khan’s services were hired to take off this international pressure by staging highly propagated activity of ‘border crossing’ drama of February 1992, where he was fully helped and supported to muster people but told not to go beyond a certain point that it could be demonstrated to the international community that people of Azad Kashmir were supporting militancy; and Pakistan was having difficulty in controlling these people.

Influenced by a large number of people, and especially youngsters, he ignored the agreement with the establishment and tried to go beyond the agreed point, which resulted in shooting by the Pakistan army and killing of eight innocent Kashmiri youths.

Amanullah Khan decided to have another border crossing show. This time he was to ‘run over’ the border between Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. While he himself was comforted in safety of his office in Rawalpindi, he wanted his protestors to reach Pakistani Parliament in Islamabad at a time when there was high alert everywhere. Because of the war on terrorism or more appropriately a civil war, no part of Pakistan, especially in Rawalpindi and in Islamabad was considered safe, genius Amanullah Khan wanted to raid the Pakistani Parliament under this situation.

Like in 1992, he was told that he would not be allowed to proceed beyond a certain point; and that point was Azad Patan Bridge. But question is if the protestors had to come back from that Bridge then why take them there. Perhaps it would have been better to protest outside the AJK Assembly, like NAP, NSF and JKNLF have done.

Like the border crossing of February 1992, this time again, Amanullah Khan’s real agenda, like the last time is not what he claims. It is too early to say what terms of the deal were agreed this time, but surely one day in future it will be known.

Increased role of Kashmiri nationalists

Another new dimension is the confidence of nationalist parties in Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir. They have all of sudden become very active and persuasive. JKNLF had an impressive show in Muzaffarabad, and demonstrated its power and influence. Also NAP and NSF had some activities in various towns which were good shows and resulted in arrests and injury of their leaders. Similarly JKPNP after a long time had a good show in Mirpur.

Newly established Kashmir National Party gave a new twist to Kashmiri politics and history by deciding to hold a Black Day on 22 October. In the past Black Day was held on 27 October to coincide with landing of the Indian Army in Srinagar. But KNP claimed that it was the Tribal Invasion which violated the Standstill Agreement and undermined the sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir State. They said it was the Tribal Invasion supported by Pakistani officials that resulted in our suffering and division of the State, therefore, the Black Day should be held on this day.

Furthermore UKPNP also flexed its muscle and had an impressive show in Rawalakot. It showed its strength and openly spoke against oppressive policies of Pakistani rulers. Apart from that All Parties National Alliance is also getting its act together and playing its part in promoting the cause of united and independent Jammu and Kashmir.

All these activities were in one way against the Kashmir policy of Islamabad. This sudden upsurge of Kashmiri nationalists unnerved the ruling elite, especially the rulers of Islamabad who have interest in keeping these areas under their control and exploiting natural resources.

JKLF Yasin group in Pakistani Administered Kashmir is virtually on death bed, and are not in a position to put up any show apart from issuing a paper statement from time to time. So only party the Pakistani establishment could rely on is the JKLF Amanullah Khan Group. It is possible that they requested the old, tried and trusted ally to come out and show that he is still alive and kicking. They knew if logistic support is provided and a task of apparently against Pakistani policy is given it will suit both: Amanullah Khan and his party will get a new lease of life and it will help Pakistani establishment to marginalise the other parties who are genuinely working in the field.

Role of MQM and other Pakistani parties in Gilgit Baltistan

Entry of MQM in the Kashsmiri politics is certainly a new dimension. Some years ago when the MQM was not involved in the Kashmir politics and was not even that influential in the politics of Pakistan, a Pakistani friend from Islamabad came to visit me. This friend has good interaction with foreign diplomats in Islamabad and also has ear of the Pakistani establishment. He also has good knowledge of Pakistani politics and India Pakistan relations. During our conversation he suggested that I should join MQM. With amazement I asked reason for this. He said:

‘MQM is going to play a leading role in politics of Pakistan; and they will also have a big say in politics of Kashmir as well’. He smiled at me and said, ‘You have given enough time and suffered enough, and in my opinion you should get some rewards now and MQM can help you with that.’

I said to him, ‘Like any other political activist I also want rewards, but I would not accept any rewards at the cost of my ideology. I don’t want Pakistani parties to operate inside Kashmiri territory’. Also I told him what I thought of MQM and refused to take that path. I thought may be on suggestion of Pakistani agencies he was trying to woo me and distract me from my mission. Anyhow what he said became true.

Now when I see MQM marching right from Karachi to Azad Kashmir and to Gilgit Baltistan and holding big public meetings, his words echo my memory. Gilgit Baltistan is part of State of Jammu and Kashmir; and Pakistani presence there is illegal and unwarranted. They have injected millions in the polity of the area and are busy corrupting people with their ill gotten money.

These Pakistani parties with help of their money and huge propaganda machinery and media will defeat most of local parties and especially nationalist candidates. They have already violated State Subject Laws, control local economy and now with help of election drama they will hijack and ‘legally’ dominate polity of the area as well. To fool people and the world at large, they will call this ‘granting independence and empowering people’.

Yet another dimension

India claims the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India, and furthermore Kashmir is part of their constitution; but we challenge this contention because the accession was ‘provisional’ and had to be ratified by the people of the State in free and an impartial plebiscite.

In any case for all practical purposes India settled for what they had. India was more than happy to have a treaty on basis of the cease fire line or the present LOC. However, it was Pakistan which wanted more territory of the State to satisfy their imperial and economic designs; and for that they started direct and indirect wars.

What this indicates is that India did not believe that the accession was final; and that it was for the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir, otherwise they would not have settled for the status quo or remained silent on the plight of people in Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir if they had thought these people were ‘Indian’ like people of other Indian states.

But after sixty two years of silence all of sudden India has changed its stand or strategy. They have not only raised objections to the Chinese intentions to build dams in Gilgit Baltistan, they have also asserted their claim that these areas belong to India.

This dimension of the Kashmir dispute will change the scenario and will have great impact on politics of the region and that of South Asia. So in presence of all these dimensions discussed above, what is there for us? Are we going to be any better off, or we will be a battleground for a new conflict and new tension, which may attract other players in the conflict?

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:
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